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    Ana Mara Belluzzo focuses on the historical context of Brazil during the 1950’s and the interplay between the Constructivist avant-garde and what modern architecture could gain from it, as well as the discussion of city planning regarding the construction of the new capital in Brazil. This was a moment of “a new spirit of great possibility, effervescence, and renewal.” She states that in Brazilian culture, the “modern project revealed itself to be inseparable from the achievements of architecture and city planning.” This fostered the “image” of the excellence of modernity.

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    In this essay, Ana Maria Belluzzo investigates the collaboration of artists, architects and critics from the Concrete and Neo-Concrete art movement in Brazil. She includes the cultural and social climate of Brazil during the time of the movement, but also prefaces it with an emphasis on the importance of the “first phase” of Modernism which was from 1920 to 1945. During this period, there was a “strong literary approach and background” which together led social discourse towards the emergence of mural art in the 1930’s. During the 1950’s, “the visual arts would be united with architectural creation, encompassing modern furniture and new dimensions of urban living, as was publicized by the specialized journals issued regularly from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.”

     

    Belluzzo notes that modern art and architecture derived from a “rupture” and were introduced by “denouncing the past.” She attributes urbanist Lucio Costa and critic Mário Pedrosa to elevating the aesthetics of architecture and providing privileged testament to the creative process of the modern architect. She then delves into Costa’s academic teaching of the new architecture and his responsibility of informing the new generation of architects coming out of Rio de Janeiro. In 1950, he was commissioned to do the urban planning for the new capital, Brasília.

     

    Throughout the essay, Belluzzo mentions numerous architectural works as outstanding examples of Constructivist motives and ideals. She then delves into Mário Pedrosa’s contributions as an active art critic. “Simultaneously dedicated to the subject of architecture, he deeply respected the contribution of the urbanist Lucio Costa, for whom architecture was “construction conceived with artistic intention.” He inaugurated criticism of art and architecture, founded on the reflection of form.

     

    When considering the grand impact of the Constructivist movement in Brazil, it is important to also include the impact the movement in the realm of architecture, which Belluzzo successfully presents in this essay. [See in ICAA digital archive, the texts:“Art and Design: Discovery and Attitude” by Alexandre Wollner (doc. no. 1324618), “The Key Role of Criticism in the Experimental and Avant-Garde Trends: Mário Pedrosa” by Francisco Alambert (doc. no. 1324651) and “Max Bill on the Map of Argentine-Brazilian Concrete Art” by Maria Amalia Garcia (doc. no.1324602) regarding the publication Building on a Construct: The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art].

     

    Ana Maria Belluzzo is a Professor of Art History at the Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo of the Universidade de São Paulo. She is a board member of the Comitê Brasileiro de História da Arte and of the Brazilian division of the International Association of Art Critics.